Fri, Jan 31, 2020 - Page 2 News List

Groups protest city labor director

LACK OF TRANSPARENCY:Labor and equality groups said the director has held anti-homosexual views and was nominated without promised transparency

By Shen Pei-yao, Kuo An-chia and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Union and gender equality group members yesterday protest in front of Taipei City Hall against the appointment of Chen Hsin-yu as director of the Taipei Department of Labor.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Unions and gender equality groups yesterday rallied in front of Taipei City Hall to protest the appointment of Chen Hsin-yu (陳信瑜) as director of the Taipei Department of Labor, citing concern about Chen’s purported stance against homosexuality.

Chen, a former Kaohsiung City councilor for the Democratic Progressive Party, is scheduled to take office today.

Chen has been known for her opposition to education materials that teach about same-sex relationships and while it would be detrimental to judge her solely on past remarks, less than one month ago she said she did not regret that decision, Marriage Equality Platform convener Jennifer Lu (呂欣潔) said.

Appointing this kind of person to a position related to gender equality affairs is troubling, Lu said.

Groups opposed to the appointment said they were concerned as the labor director post brings with it membership in the Taipei Women’s Rights Promotion Committee, the department’s Gender Equality Association and the Department of Education’s Association for Gender Equality Education, as well as the convener of the Review Committee for Vocational Discrimination.

The groups called for the appointment of another person through a transparent nomination processes.

Taipei Doctors’ Union Secretary-General Liao Yu-wen (廖郁雯) said that information on the appointment process or nomination committee was not available on the city’s Web site, adding that no outside opinions were consulted during the process.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) prides himself on being transparent and involving the public in his decisions, but he has failed to live up to his promises, Liao said.

In 2014, Ko said that city residents should choose their department of labor director, and Lai Hsiang-ling (賴香伶) was appointed to the position after 19,956 residents voted.

However, after the Jan. 11 legislative elections, Lai became a legislator-at-large in waiting for Ko’s Taiwan People’s Party.

Taipei City Councilor Miao Po-ya (苗博雅) said that the city government’s neglect in informing unions and other groups of the appointment process means it was not a “transparent nomination.”

Citing a 2016 vocational survey of homosexual Taiwanese, Department of Labor Gender Equality Committee member Hsu Chia-wei (許家瑋) said 60 percent found the Taiwanese vocational environment unfriendly and were afraid of “outing” themselves.

Hsu said Chen’s appointment would waste Lai’s efforts to ameliorate those concerns.

Chen’s anti-homosexual stance could affect the municipality’s ability to uphold the law, Fight for Gender Equality secretary-general Chou Yu-hsuan (周于萱) said.

“The municipality could use technicalities to bar homosexual couples from applying for leave for marriage, caring for children and receiving paid leave for giving birth,” Chou said.

Taipei Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun (蔡炳坤) said Chen had been selected from numerous candidates.

Chen comes from a family of laborers, worked in the Kaohsiung City Government for seven years and was a city councilor for 14 years, Tsai said, adding that in that time Chen had never wavered in her concern for and promotion of labor rights.

Ko intends to create a mutually-inclusive society, and has pushed for LGBT-friendly work environments, he said, adding that the Department of Labor will continue to promote these issues.

Chen’s personal beliefs would not hinder her job to promote these matters, Tsai said.

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